It's 9:45 on a Saturday morning, and students are already filling up a classroom on the 4th floor at the Rosebank College Sunnyside campus in Pretoria. It's a long way from Silicon Valley, but just the same, the enthusiasm is electric. Close to 50 students have made their way to the Programmers Den Saturday class, which teaches students how to code programmes in a manner that makes learning fun, while also teaching students all they need to know to improve their grades. Seated at the corner of the class is Vhutshilo Macheque, the brains behind the operation. Macheque is an ICT programme co-ordinator and lecturer of the IIE Diploma in Software Development and Diploma in Network Development qualification. He started Programmers Den in academic week 1 and has no plans of slowing down.
"I decided to offer this extra class on Saturday because I noticed how many of my students were struggling to understand in their first year because this subject isn't offered at High School," recalls Macheque. "I wanted to make the learning process fun and practical, transferring skills they have learnt in the classroom to real life situations."
The classes are run by the head programmers - students Macheque has identified as his top programming students. "I currently have 5 head programmers, whose role it is to transfer the skills I have taught them to their classmates during the Saturday classes". These programmers have a meeting with Macheque every Wednesday for 1h30 minutes and during these sessions he teaches them everything he knows. Ngcebenhle Shabangu, a third year student completing his IIE Diploma in Software Development is one of the 5 head programmers. Shabangu is sure it was his enthusiasm that got him selected. "I'm happy to sacrifice my Saturdays to help others. Sharing this information is amazing, and showing students that there is more to programming is what I really enjoy."
Palesa Letshabo is one of the few girls in the class. According to Macheque the gender balance has improved tremendously since he first started lecturing on the subject." We are moving into a new digital world, and systems of doing things manually have changed, therefore there is a greater demand for software developers. For Letshabo deciding to pursue the Diploma in Software Development was a natural choice. "I love solving problems, and since I did Computer Application Technology (CAT) in high school and enjoyed it, I wanted to learn more about computers. As a first year student Letshabo is one of Macheque's most promising students. "We get to create our own games and see the fun side of what we are learning in class." Letshabo hopes to one day become an IT analyst and open her own business." I would like to create programmes and sell them."
This is the vision Macheque has for all his students. "My wish is not to take ownership of this initiative but for the students themselves to own it. I teach them more than what they are required to learn with the hope that they don't have to wait to be employed."
About IIE Rosebank College
The IIE Rosebank College is dedicated to providing students with a solid foundation, creating future thinkers to build successful careers.
Rosebank College is an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education (The IIE) which is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training as a private higher education institution. The IIE quality, accredited courses have a strong technological focus enabling you to thrive in today's working world. Whether you study at our Braamfontein, Bloemfontein, Pietermaritzburg,
Pretoria CBD, Pretoria Sunnyside or Durban campuses, and enrol for a degree, diploma or higher certificate.
We are a worthy higher education partner for all students who entrust us with their career development.
For more information please visit www.rosebankcollege.co.za
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Written by Karabo Keepile